Page 53

“He left the money and the books-that’s why you took your time getting a search warrant for his apartment, right?”

“I knew I had to get in there first,” Pete said.

“Why me?” she asked softly.

“Oh, Katie! Such a pretty, sweet thing! But he loves you, so…this is really the revenge I wanted. With Tanya, it was perfect-he had motive, he was young, he was big, he should have been angry. There’s motive for you! And…he cared about her, but not the way he cares about you. That’s too perfect. That’s real revenge!”

“Pete, Pete, think, you’re a cop, they’ll know it was you now!”

He laughed. “I’m a cop, yes. And that’s the point. We’ve come full circle from the hanging tree, and now it can all rest. The past will really be avenged. And as to my position, it’s perfect. And I am the best! I’ve served this city. I’ve been firm, and I’ve been fair. I’ve taken down some of the biggest drug lords to darken our door. And now, my life will be purged. Now, once Beckett is dead and he’s history-a vicious killer brought down by the descendant of the man he wronged-I’ll make history myself. I’ll take the chief’s place in a few years. And, in time, I’ll run for office. I’ll be governor, you’ll see. My life is bigger than this small island. It’s my destiny to carry out the curse. That’s how powerful I really am!”

He was serious. Dead serious. That was perhaps the most terrifying aspect of it all. He believed that he had been wronged. He probably had been a good cop-other than being a psycho murderer.

“Why are you hurting my brother?” she asked.

“Katie O’Hara! You don’t know your history. Your brother’s death adds so much to all this. Don’t you know? Oh, please, you might have guessed. An O’Hara was on the jury that denounced my ancestor, did you know that? An O’Hara helped deliver a death sentence. So, well, I just hadn’t expected quite this much justice, but it’s all fallen in nicely.” He lifted her head for her, twisting it so that she could see clearly.

She winced, trying not to cry out.

Sean looked like an oversize doll. He’d been set up in a stand. He was lolled against it, still unconscious. He was wearing Tanzler’s hat. Sean was tall and broad-shouldered. It must have irritated Pete that he couldn’t possibly shove Sean into Carl Tanzler’s much smaller clothing.


She heard the soft whisper. Bartholomew was standing by her side. Behind him she could see Danny, Stella and Tanya.

“We’re trying, Katie. Work your left wrist. We’re trying…we’re trying.”

She smiled. Her head was killing her.

She wondered if she was going to join them soon.

Suddenly, something flew across the room and crashed against the wall. Pete Dryer spun around, his gun out. He fired shots into the wall, then he turned to face the dark corridor that led to the room.

“Beckett! I know that you’re out there!” Dryer warned. “Show yourself-or I’ll shoot her in the kneecaps long before I put her out of her misery!”

“Oh, that will go unnoticed by law enforcement,” David’s voice called from the darkness beyond.

“You ass! I’ll do it!” Pete said.

David moved into view. He didn’t look at Katie. She was certain that he didn’t dare.

She felt movement at her wrist. She twisted it. The tie was loosening.

“Shoot me, Pete-isn’t that your plan?” David asked.

Pete raised his gun. “Yes, it is.”

He fired.

But David wasn’t there. There was a sound of exploding glass. Katie dimly realized that he had taken a mirror from one of the exhibits. Pete had shot at his reflection.

Something came flying into the room. It was a headstone from the Maine exhibit.

It caught Pete right in the chest, slamming him backward. She heard his gun fly-and crash into the floor.


“Get up, Katie, get up!” Bartholomew urged her.

She wrenched her wrist free. Halfway up, she started tearing at the other tie herself.

“Don’t! David, there’s another-”

“Trip wire, I know!” he shouted back to her.

Pete Dryer made a dive for the gun. David leapt the wire, and went flying down for it himself. Pete was closer.

He almost reached it.

But someone else was there.

Not Bartholomew. Not Tanya, or Stella.

She was Bartholomew’s lady in white, the broken-hearted Lucinda, and she used a foot that was clad in a delicate white slipper to send the gun sliding farther back in the room. Katie freed her hand and leapt from the table.

Pete staggered up, ready to fly for the gun again.

But David was in a fury. He tackled Pete, bringing him facedown on the floor, sending his nose, chin and forehead into a hard thud against the wood. He slammed the man’s head down again, and again, then jerked up to his feet, and slid back down to reach the gun.

He caught it.

Pete staggered up. David had the gun on him.

Pete started to lunge, but wavered.

“Don’t make me shoot you, Pete. Don’t,” David said.

Pete’s nose was bleeding profusely. He was bleeding from a gash on his forehead. He smiled.

He didn’t go for David, and he didn’t go for the gun.

He made a dive for the trip wire.

“No!” David raged, flying after him.

“Get up, all the way!” Bartholomew screamed to Katie.

And she did so.

Just as her brother’s trussed and propped-up arm came crashing down on the bed where she had lain. The sad marital bed of the long-dead Elena de Hoyos.

But it was empty.

And this time, David laid a punch into Pete Dryer with such a fierce anger that the man went down like a limp rag.

It would be a long while before he gained consciousness again.

Katie ran over to David, and threw herself into his arms. He held her against him as if she were as fragile as blown glass for a moment, then he crushed her to him and buried his head against her shoulder, trembling.

“Ambulances, we have to get ambulances out here!” Katie said.

David worked his mouth. “Liam,” was all that he said. And then managed, “I’m sure they’re on their way by now.”

He was right. The night came alive with the sound of sirens.

Then a shout. “David! David, where the hell are you?” his cousin shouted.

“Up here!” David yelled in return. There was a clatter in the entry below as Pete Dryer’s trip-wire sound alarm went off. There were footsteps hurrying up the stairs.

David was staring in the shadows over Katie’s shoulder.

She spun around.

“Thank you,” David said. “Thank you, all of you.”

They were all there. Bartholomew, Danny, Stella and Tanya.

Bartholomew swept off his hat and bowed elegantly. “Ah, yes, well, I owed a debt of gratitude to the Becketts, you know. And the O’Haras.”

Tanya’s spirit stepped nimbly past Bartholomew. She came to David, and Katie. She touched their cheeks.

She faded as she did so.

Then Stella was gone.

Then Danny.

“Bartholomew!” Katie whispered.

He smiled. “Oh, I’m not going anywhere,” he told her.

He stepped past them all, and Katie saw that his lady in white, Lucinda, was waiting for him on the other side of the room. He took her hands in his own.

“Dear lady, what a lovely, feisty creature you’ve proven to be! Lucinda, I’m Bartholomew.”

“David, Katie!” Liam was there, with officers behind him. The room became flooded with light. “Medics, get the medics up here!” he roared.

The worst of it all, to Sean, since they had all survived, was the humiliation.

Katie was released from the hospital in the early hours of the following morning.

Sean was not.

But Katie wasn’t going to leave him.

He was bandaged in a massive turban, and though his skull hadn’t been crushed, he had stitches that ranged over a large mass of it.

“I beat Sam practically to a pulp-did that bastard’s work for him, and sat there like a sitting duck while he creamed me!” he told Katie and David from his hospital bed. Then he mused, “How the hell could he have been so damned crazy, and none of us known it?” he demanded, bewildered.

“I wonder how we didn’t see so many of the clues staring us straight in the face,” David told him. “And you did what you thought you had to do-you defended your sister. Sam appeared to be the real enemy. Who the hell could know?”

Sean nodded bleakly, and looked at his sister. “You saved our lives, Katie. We’d have died for sure if you hadn’t kept us from suffocating in those bags.”

Bartholomew was seated in the one big chair in the room while David stood and Katie perched on the end of her brother’s bed.

He sniffed loudly. “Excuse me, but I do believe I get a little of the credit!”

“I’d hug you if I could,” Katie told him.

“Almost-I’m getting there,” Bartholomew said. “Look, you can all talk this out until you turn blue in the face. No one will ever be able to understand the human mind.” He waved a hand in the air. “Liam is down at the station now, where he will be for hours on end, filling out paperwork, and filling in the gaps from all the statements that were taken last night.” He pointed a finger at Katie. “You two-go home. Get rest. I’ll be looking after Sean. Have you seen your brother’s notes? He wants to get David in with him and start filming the shipwrecks of the Keys.”

“That’s marvelous! He’ll stay home,” Katie said.

“She’s talking to herself again,” Sean said.

“No, she’s talking to Bartholomew,” David corrected.

Sean’s jaw dropped. He stared at his sister. Katie shrugged.

“You mean, you can see him, too?” Sean asked David.

David shook his head regretfully. “No-but I did see him, for a brief minute last night. He’s real, and he’s looking out for you.”